Choosing the right hotel
Whenever you book a vacation, choosing a hotel is key to your level of enjoyment. Hotels are usually rated with a star system, and this generally correlates with the hotels' price. When choosing a place to stay, ask yourself the following questions: How much time will I spend in the hotel? What amenities are most important to me? Am I looking for a home away from home or just a place to lay my head for the night? Knowing your own expectations can make choosing among hotels a lot easier.
Five-star hotels generally are the most expensive. You are paying for luxury. These hotels usually offer butler service, large bathrooms with soaking tubs, spa-inspired bath products, and high-end bed linens. Lobbies in five-star hotels are laden with marble and fresh flowers. Service is impeccable.
Still quite elegant are four-star hotels. Usually the difference is slight. Maybe the rooms are a bit smaller, the linens a slightly lower thread count, and the shampoos less expensive. The biggest difference seems to be in the price.
Three-star hotels offer clean and comfortable accommodations but may not offer the same amenities as their pricier cousins. Guest rooms are less elegant, but comfortable nevertheless. Bathrooms are generally pretty standard. (If you're looking for a rain shower, you probably won't find it here.) Service is fine, though the staff doesn't bow at your feet quite the same way. Many guests find this level of service more comfortable; others miss being treated like royalty.
Down in the two-star range you will find hotels that serve as a bed for the night but offer little else in the way of comfort. These hotels are good for driving trips where you only plan to spend a limited amount of time and then hit the road again. Count on “plain.” No fancy sheets or down comforters, probably a stall shower instead of a big bathtub, and definitely no champagne and strawberries. Room service? Maybe, but it's probably more likely that you'll ask the lobby for the local pizza joint's menu.
One-star hotels are best for budget travelers who aren't too picky about where they sleep as long as it's cheap. Not usually the cleanest or most updated places, these are meant for those guests who don't plan to spend a whole lot of time in their hotel room. If you're far more interested in the sightseeing than the size of your pillow, these hotels might suit you just fine.
If you've chosen to stay in hotels during your travels, choose wisely based on your own personal needs. As long as you're willing to pay a price equal to your expectations, you won't be disappointed.
Jeff Lakie is the founder of Hotel Information a website providing information on Hotels